Author`s name Michael Simpson

Argentina: Kirchner Names New Cabinet

Four members of the current Government headed by Eduardo Duhalde will keep their posts; among them the Economy Minister, Roberto Lavagna
In an official statement addressed from his home province, Santa Cruz, Argentina's President-Elect Nestor Kirchner Tuesday announced the new cabinet that is to rule the country from Sunday. The new team of government combines a number of Kirchner's close collaborators, members of the current cabinet designated by Duhalde and prestigious independent men.

According to the information available during the past two days, there were no surprises on Kirchner's designations, other than the appointment of Rafael Bielsa as Foreign Minister. Mr. Bielsa, brother of Argentina’s national football team coach, Marcelo, is a social-democratic prestigious jurist that joined Kirchner around one year ago, when the President-elect did not enjoy the support of President Duhalde. Last week, some sources close to Kirchner said that Bielsa was closer to take the Ministry of Justice, because of his background. However, Bielsa, himself had denied these versions to PRAVDA.Ru and will take the Foreign Office on Sunday

The confirmation of Roberto Lavagna in Economy reaffirms Kirchner's will to follow the general guidelines drew up by his predecessor. Lavagna had taken the Economy office in April 2002, after the collapse of the first plan designed by Duhalde to take Argentina out of recession. By that moment, analysts predicted a definitive crack on country's finances and even President Duhalde said the country was in "God's hands". With Lavagna in office, Argentina could get precarious macroeconomic stability, at first, and by the end of the year showed signs of reactivation.

Apart from Lavagna, three other members of the current cabinet will keep their post at Kirchner's Government. Anibal Fernandez jumped from the Production Department to the Interior Ministry; Gines Gonzalez Garcia will continue as Health Minister, while the current General Secretary Jose Pampuro has been designated to head the Defense Ministry.

Those areas close to Presidency were filled with officials traditionally linked to Kirchner. That is the case of Alberto Fernandez, designated Chief of Cabinet, who has directed Kirchner's political campaign since the beginning in January 2002. Julio De Vido, former official in Santa Cruz Government will be the Planning Minister, a new area in charge of the relationship with the provinces. The post of Secretary of Intelligence was reserved for Kirchner's main collaborator, Sergio Acevedo.

Alicia Kirchner, sister of the President-elect and the only woman of the cabinet, will take the Social Development office, after a successful work in the area at Santa Cruz Government. Finally, a former member of the Communist Party, Daniel Filmus, will take the Education Office. Filmus is a prestigious specialist in the area and carried out the mission in Buenos Aires City.

The full cabinet will take office on Sunday afternoon. Nestor Kirchner pledged this wouldn't be a "provisional cabinet" as he was ready to work to change Argentina from the beginning. The President-elect will fly to Buenos Aires tomorrow to make the final adjustments to Sunday's sworn in ceremony.

Photo: Argentine President-elect, Nestor Kirchner (left) together with Vice-President, Daniel Scioli